Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Calling All Angels...

So, here's the update on Believe Impossible Things...

I was able to communicate with Almaz the other day regarding the $500 for Etagenge's nursing license. She assured me that Etagenge is ready to take the test, and that Almaz will get all this moving when she gets back to Ethiopia in October (she's still in the States). She also confirmed that she'll be able to send a photo of Etagenge when she gets her license, which I cannot WAIT to show all of you!

I've mentioned an organization before called Charity:Water. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, scroll down a few posts or go check out their website. One of the things I greatly admire about this organization is the way in which they are able to pass every cent of every donation directly to the cause for which it's intended. The way they do this is by using private funding for salaries (for the record, Believe Impossible Things will not compensate anyone with salaries for the foreseeable future, possible ever). They also rely on donations for web design, logo design, stationery, office furniture, etc.

I love this concept. Allow me to use a well-known example to demonstrate one of the things that's always bugged me about charitable giving: The United Way. The United Way does a lot of tremendous things, no doubt. But donations often go into a huge bucket and, in the end, I don't want to find out that my $30 donation paid for the leg of an office chair. I want to know that my donation fed a hungry child in a third-world country for six months. Also, the CEO of The United Way makes an ungodly amount of money. Again, I know she (I'm pretty sure it's a she) works hard. But I don't want my $30 donation filling up half of her gas tank.

As a donor, I like to know where my money is going and whom I've directly affected. I want the same for all of the donors to Believe Impossible Things.

The office of Believe Impossible Things is, at present (and for the foreseeable future), right here in my living room. I'd love someone to donate carpet or an unstained chair, but that would be for personal pleasure, not business need so I won't ask for it.

What I do need is the following. If anyone can help (or knows anyone who might be willing to help), please let me know.

  • Assistance incorporating. Several years ago, I met with a friend of a friend who is a non-profit attorney here in town about forming a different charitable organization (that didn't ever come to be). He was going to charge me $3000 to form it (before filing fees). I'm HAPPY as punch to pay the filing fees. But is there an attorney out there who would be willing to fill out the paperwork pro bono? Or, is there an attorney out there who would advise me against using a service like LegalZoom for any reason? LegalZoom is not free, but it's far less expensive than the friend of a friend was.
  • Assistance filing for tax-exempt status with the IRS. Filing as an official 501(c)(3) requires even more paperwork. Again, happy to pay the filing fees. Is anyone willing/able to help me pro bono with the filling out of the forms?
  • Logo - anyone out there a fantastic graphic designer (or a budding one with great promise) who'd like to take a shot at the logo?
  • Web design. Of course, we need a website!
That's it for now. All told, if formally hired out, the cost of these four needs could exceed $10,000. Sadly, I don't have $10,000 lying around. And, truthfully, even if I did, I'd FAR prefer to use it to help others in Ethiopia. I bet $10,000 would go a long way over there. So does anyone know anyone who might do pro bono work in any of these areas?

I know, once again I'm wondering if anyone knows anyone. But this is surely more important than knowing someone who knows someone who knows the Jonas Brothers, right?


Super Mom said...

I highly recommend going to the library and borrowing any of the relevant NOLO legal advice books. FREE! I've used several in the past and they come with a CD that includes all the forms you need (you're a smart cookie and can easily make any needed adjustments)You can do all your incorporating easily and I will volunteer my services helping you check them before filing (I'm an ex-consultant and my clients were start-ups and non-profits). I haven't done those forms before myself but I bet we could muscle our way through it.

Megan said...

Liz - I think that what you are taking on is so awesome. I'm sure you have heard that a ton and will continue to. I also know that you aren't doing this for the praise, but I figured I'd give it out anyway.

What you said about United Way is so true. There is a great website: that allows donors to choose specific charities and specific ways for the charities to use your donations. You can do anything from donating 2 books to building a library. You can supply a days worth of water to a village or you can build them a well. My sister's husband interviewed the man who started the website. You can read the interview here:

I thought it was super interesting!

Anyway, I love your ideas and I love the name, Believe Impossible Things...

Melissa said...

Love charity:water. Been wearing my bracelet 24/7 for a month or so and it's brough many inquiries! YOU are amazing!

Erica said...

Love what your doing Liz! I'd be happy to help with whatever you need. :) Maybe we should get together for coffee sometime.

Brian and Autumn said...

Hey Liz,
Here is the website that has an Amharic Bible online in PDF format - The references are in English so you can get a pretty good idea what is what. Congrats on the beginning of your big project can't wait to stay updated on it all!!